A rescue squad is a specific public service organization for rescue operations in a community, or a specific unit within a fire department or fire protection district. In Illinois, most rescue squads operate as a unit as part of a fire department or fire protection district.
Some rescue units use small rescue trucks that accompany most EMS calls with the ambulance. Heavy rescue units utilize larger trucks with specialized rescue equipment prepared to perform heavy extrication, as in crashes involving semi-trailer trucks and smaller vehicles on an expressway. The equipment is prepared to stabilize vehicles, and cut and spread steel and other vehicle materials to free people from entrapment. Squad personnel in fire departments or fire protections districts are also prepared to go to work on regular or specific fireground operations.
Some smaller rural community rescue squads are primarily more economical EMS response units operating from ambulances. They are available for quick response locally for the majority of EMS calls, and coordinate operations with nearby larger fire departments or fire protection districts when heavy rescue is required or more complicated operations are necessary.
On NBC's CHICAGO FIRE: The squad responds to a water rescue when a young boy falls into the icy waters of Lake Michigan.
Technical Rescue Team